Once the shuffle comes to an end, we’ll take a look at which teams stand to gain the most with their new affiliations—and which clubs may have taken the biggest hit.
In the meantime, my hometown Nationals have taken a beating in the local papers (and rightfully so, I’d say) over their paltry attendance figures at their brand-new, publicly funded ballpark. First The Washington Times reported that the Nationals’ disastrous season has not been limited to the playing field. Today, The Washington Post reports that the Nats are on the verge of posting the worst cumulative attendance of any team at a new ballpark since the Orioles opened Camden Yards in 1992.
Nationals team president Stan Kasten dismisses the hoopla as merely an answer to a trivia question. "I think given where our record is," Kasten told The Post, "I’ve been thrilled with our attendance."
Of course, the Nationals’ record is not some meteorological phenomenon out of their control but rather the result of a lackluster lineup. The Nationals certainly had plenty of rebuilding after Major League Baseball ran the franchise into the ground, but the 2008 opening of Nationals Park certainly did not come as a surprise to the club and you’d think fielding a competitive team would have been a priority. Meanwhile focusing your plans on player development and failing to sign your top draft pick is not a recipe for success, or confidence—the team could very well end up with the No. 1 overall pick in 2009.
In other news, Double-A Carolina will announce its affiliation with either the Reds or Giants at a press conference tomorrow. Double-A Trenton yesterday announced a new six-year affiliation with the Yankees. Teams cannot sign a player development contract longer than four years. However Minor League Baseball spokesman Steve Densa told me that the Thunder signed a two-year and a four-year PDC at the same time, post-dating one of them.
Only the short-season circuit will remain unsettled after tomorrow’s announcement, with the Giants and Marlins still unsigned, and Jamestown and Salem-Keizer available.
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